The indictment on Thursday of a long-running hacking ring is kindling fears that rogue programmers are not just interested in stealing identities and money but are also trying to destabilize stock exchanges and technology infrastructure supporting financial markets.
The New York Times reports five Eastern European computer programmers were charged yesterday day by the US attorney in New Jersey with hacking more than a dozen large American companies and stealing 160 million credit card numbers the largest hacking and data breach case ever. Apart from the scope of the hack, this is not an unusual case.
However, in a separate case filed by federal authorities in Manhattan, a hacker ring was indicted for breaking into the servers of the Nasdaq, the world's second-largest stock exchange. "They were able to 'execute commands on those servers, including commands to delete, change or steal data,'" says The Times quoting the indctment.
This incident can serve as a reminder to advisors about financial-data security.
Like Willie Sutton, who, when asked why he robbed banks, legendarily responded by saying, "because that's where the money is," hackers go where the money is.
They're not so much interested in portfolio reports or client statements as they are in getting at passwords and being able to conduct transactions. That's the data you need to guard most carefully.